SACRAMENTO, CA (WCMH) — Police officers are investigating after a desecrated Quran was mailed to an Islamic center in northern California.
On June 28, the Sacramento Valley Council on American-Islamic Relations received a package. Inside was a sealed plastic food storage container. A closer inspection of the package made center workers notify the police.
“Just another case file perhaps, but it smelled a little funky,” said Katelyn Costa with CAIR Sacramento. “We did not know what would be inside. We thought it was a book. [We thought] it was probably the Quran, but we let the authorities open it.”
“When our officers arrived and determined what it was, it was a Quran that had been sent to them, packaged in a substance that appeared to be pork fat or pork lard,” Linda Matthew with the Sacramento Police Department told KTRK.
The sender also wrote hateful and menacing messages on the pages of the Quran.
The package arrived at CAIR Sacramento just days after two Sacramento-area mosques were vandalized. The vandalism incidents were investigated as hate crimes, but police place the lard-covered Quran in a different category.
“We are looking into it as hate-related activity,” Matthew said. “However, there was no actual crime committed.”
Investigators worked with the region’s threat assessment center and determined that the package was mailed from a middle-aged woman in Houston, Texas.
“So, through the investigation, detectives were able to determine that the package was shipped by a female, white adult in her 40s or 50s,” Matthew said.
“[This was] definitely hateful,” Costa said. “We’re going to let the authorities determine if it’s a crime or not, but this is part of a rash of hate incidents.”
Ruth Nasrullah with the Houston chapter of CAIR told KTRK that it’s offensive whenever any holy book is desecrated.
“When you have something like a holy book, no matter what book it is — whether it’s the Quran, the Talmud or the Bible — when it’s treated in that way, it’s really disrespectful,” said Nasrullah.